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June 20, 2024

Diving into the world of oud 

Jade Crasto 
One of the costliest raw scent components in the world is oud, also known as oudh. A kilogramme of oud can cost as much as a kilogram of gold if not more. The fragrance component, which is unique to South-East Asia, comes from the bark of trees and has an instantly recognizable woody aroma. Agarwood and its derivatives have been traded since the dawn of time, and some writings even claim that traders transported agarwood from China to the Middle East via India using the renowned Silk Route. Historically, markets in Japan and the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, were the main consumers of oud, which was originally produced in South and Southeast Asian countries including India, Bangladesh, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. However, there seems to have been a recent increase in demand, mostly in Western Europe, as well as supply centres, such as Australia and Sri Lanka.  
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The historical origins of oud, which goes back to 1400 B.C.E., are rooted in tradition and culture. In addition to being burned as incense to greet guests at home, it is also blended into oils or fragrances. Today, commercial fragrances may be found all over the world with notes of oud. To know more about this beautiful and aromatic fragrance, LuxeBook spoke to Mustafa Firoz, Managing Director, My Perfumes Group & Founder; My Perfumes Select. My Perfumes Select is a luxurious fragrance brand based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). With a passion for the art of perfumery, the brand offers a range of perfumes crafted from Extrait de Parfum or perfume absolutes from the most exquisite perfume ingredients in the world 
What is Oud (Oudh)? 
“Oud or agarwood, verily referred to as ‘Wood of Gods’, ‘Scent of Heaven’, ‘King of Scents’ & ‘Black Gold’ continues to remain the highlight of oriental alchemy”, says Firoz.  Agarwood which is the resin infused fragrant wood, is derived from tropical trees whereby the trunk and branches start producing a fragrant resin that the world has come to love and value, all in response to a yeast infection. It can take anywhere between several years to decades for the resin to fully form and mature, making it the most coveted, most expensive and splendidly opulent ingredient in the world of natural perfumery. The Indian agarwood and its pure extract are considered to be the most coveted of agarwood fragrances. Firoz says, My Perfumes Select’s curates finest and rarest agarwood and dhanal-oud, from the most famous centres of the world. The perfume sprays are created from the top-quality oud absolutes with the highest concentration of extrait de perfume, making each fragrance an olfactory experience of indulgence and luxury. Each piece of wood is handpicked by artisans to ensure exceptional quality and authenticity for the connoisseurs of agarwood and oud fragrances. 
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The complexity of Oud 
Since it is a resinous wood, oud undergoes a transformative process over time, developing a distinct fragrance that varies in intensity and character depending on the tress’ age, the region it grows in and the specific conditions under which the coveted resin is formed. The complex scent is an ode to nature with different elements lending their notes to create a precious olfactory experience. The notes of different natural elements are woven together in perfect harmony, crafting an aromatic symphony that is opulent, captivating and indulgent beyond measure. The core scent of oud is often described as warm, sensuous, and deeply resinous. It has a remarkable complexity, with layers of balsamic, leathery, and slightly animalistic undertones.  
Photo Courtesy: Pexels
Oud or agarwood in all its product forms has been used and is the highlight ingredient in the world’s most exclusive and niche perfumes. It symbolizes the utmost manifestation of luxury and indulgence, and the quality of the aroma can be viewed as an indication of status, prestige, and legacy. Among all the natural varieties, Indian agarwood and its pure extract is considered to be the best in fragrance. It is rich, pure and pristine oud that is tantalising, alluring and intoxicating- so diverse and complex that words fail to capture the magical bloom of its aroma. Cambodian agarwood is sweet and fruity – with facets of plums, figs, and peaches and nuances of spices and tobacco, while Indonesian agarwood has a spicy and woody scent, and Malaysian oud is very woody with a rich aroma. The fragrance of oud can be further enhanced by the presence of other natural ingredients used in perfumery, such as spices, floral notes, or precious woods, which can complement and highlight different aspects of the oud scent. My Perfumes Select curates the finest and a highly nuanced selection of Oud sprays customized to the varied tastes of oud connoisseurs 
What makes it significant  
The incense and perfumes that are produced from oud have been valued for centuries and used by many cultures for spiritual or meditative, medicinal, grooming and aphrodisiac purposes. It is highly revered in the seminal texts of Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam. Apart from its historic significance, oud has, today, become one of the most sought-after perfumery ingredients in the world. While the best oud has traditionally come from Assam, India, it is the Arabs who passionately fell in love with oud and honed the craft of oud for centuries, elevating the ritual of oud to an art form to an extent that the modern-day western perfumery was forced to acknowledge the magical aromatic qualities of oud. Oud is not an easy note to manifest or manipulate as it meanders through deluges before finally settling down. It is a complex molecule and requires the precision of a scientist and the sensitivity of an artist to balance it, either as a highlight note or as a subtle part of a bouquet of notes. It is an art that has been honed by My Perfumes Select through years of experience and realised by some of the best artisans of the oud craft. My Perfumes Select oud rituals manifest the oud note as one of the most luxurious and opulent perfume experiences and reimagine it in an enchanting opus with the most precious notes that have captured imagination and senses. From the sweet embrace of Vanilla and the warm allure of Amber to the mysterious, earthy nuance of Patchouli, each fragrance presents an olfactory journey like no other. 
Distinguishing oud from perfume 
Pure oud oil or dhanal oud, as it is called, is a concentrated fragrance. It is worn neat usually on areas where the temperature of the body is slightly higher- like the pulse points on the wrists, behind ears, neck and ankles. For centuries, dhanal oud was the most coveted of fragrances and symbolised social and financial stature and distinction in the society. It is considered the perfume of royalty. The beauty of dhanal oud lies in its versatility to lead as perfume when worn neat or to lend itself to an olfactory ecosystem. Dhanal oud serves as an important perfume ingredient, particularly in oriental alchemy. Oud has a deep, woody scent that is often described as being earthy, warm, and animalistic. A spray or perfume in common parlance, on the other hand, is a mixture of fragrant essential oils or aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents that are used to create a single pleasant scent. My Perfumes Select, curates an exclusive collection of dhanal oud oils, each representing a very distinct fragrant nuance and epoch yet as a collection, weaving a story of exclusivity and prestige. The My Perfumes Select palette of oud sprays capture the oud note in all its glory and has wowed perfume lovers across the globe. 
Synthetic oud 
The synthetic note of agarwood is a great addition to perfumery, but it cannot replace the splendorous, rich, and opulent fragrance of natural oud, which takes years to form and mature. An oud is not good enough if it doesn’t leave a unique, lingering trail. Natural oud can be used in all its variations- as incense, perfume and perfume ingredient. Nothing compares to the richness, opulence and magical mystique of oud, as pure oil, incense and in sprays. It symbolizes the utmost manifestation of luxury and indulgence. From times immemorial, the quality of oud aroma has been associated with status, prestige, and legacy. 
Mustafa Firoz, Managing Director – My Perfumes Group
Difference between synthetic and natural oud 
When it comes to composition and fragrance, there is no comparison, the natural fragrance of oud is complex and meanders through various deluges to finally settle into a magical bloom. The mystique of the famous Arabian perfume trail is intrinsically associated with natural oud. Oud has been coveted since ancient times and is the perfume of royalty. The synthetic oud is unable to replicate the aura imparted by the natural resin. 
Benefits to using oud oil 
Oud oil has a significant cultural and spiritual significance in various traditions, particularly in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Incenses and perfumes that are produced from agarwood have been valued for centuries and used by many cultures for spiritual, medicinal, beauty and aphrodisiac purposes. It is known to induce a sense of calm and peace. The pure oil of oud is used as a scent, neat on the skin, either independently or in conjugation with different fragrance oils as attar. Oud oil possesses the amazing quality of sealing in moisture, so as to intensely hydrate the skin. Also, dhanal oud is highly coveted for its sillage. 
My Perfume Selects Oud moattars and bukhoors – a luxurious collection of home incense is made from high concentration of pure oud oil and help create a beautifully scented, relaxed atmosphere and a peaceful ambiance for your home. The collection includes options like Vanilla Addiction, Patchouli Rogue, Precious Rose, Saffron Deluxe and Terre De Santal- spectacular incenses enriched with various natural ingredients including aromatic woods, exotic flowers, natural barks, and tree extracts, resins, leaves & flowers. At My Perfumes Select, they proud to have created the very first EDP collection with 0% alcohol that works with all skin types. This collection has been very well received globally, Rustic Oud being one of the highlight fragrances in the series. This sets them apart from other brands and helps enhance the appeal of their collection among connoisseurs across the world! 
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Arushi Sakhuja


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